The 1980’s was one of the greatest decades in the history of boxing. Fans fondly remember great middleweights like Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran and Tommy Hearns. Not to be outdone was the heavyweight division which produced the epic reign of Larry Holmes and the awe-inspiring emergence of Mike Tyson. The sport captivated audiences across the world, so much so that Hollywood took notice. Three of the best boxing films of all time, Raging Bull, Rocky III and Rocky IV, were produced during the decade. It was a golden age for the sport by any measure.
Recently, boxing has regained its prominent status in the world of sports and pop culture. Fighters are once again household names, known by casual sports fans, not just die-hard enthusiasts. Men like Canelo Alvarez, Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua can sell out the largest arenas in the world while those not in attendance are glued to their television sets in anticipation. As great as these athletes are, none of this would be possible if it were not for the promoters who keep the sport in the consciousness of mainstream society.
While there are many organizations to thank for boxing’s global success, the business acumen of three men, in particular, has helped the sport soar to new heights. Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, Bob Arum of Top Rank Boxing and Al Haymon of Premiere Boxing Corporation have helped create a platform for the greatest boxers in the world to showcase their skills.
Whenever people are great in their respective field, inevitably the question of who the best is will arise. While this debate may not be fair for several reasons, it is one I’ve heard more and frequently over the past year when it comes to these promotional outfits. Matchroom, Top Rank and PBC all have impressive stables of fighters and have treated fans to great events over the past few years. Let’s look at what each of these outfits has to offer and do our best to decide which one boxing fans owe the biggest debt of gratitude for the current state of the sport.
Notable fighters- Anthony Joshua, Gennady Golovkin, Devin Haney, Billy Joe Saunders, Callum Smith
Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sport is home to some of the biggest names in boxing. With up and comers like rising star Devin Haney and certified legends like GGG, the organization has a great balance between exciting youth and established stars. This would be enough to make any organization relevant but when household name Anthony Joshua is added to the equation, this outfit is certainly one to reckon with. The brilliance of Eddie Hearn was on display for the world to see as he wisely navigated unprecedented circumstances in 2020. When a pandemic forced everyone in the world of sports to reimagine how events would be held, Hearn turned his own property into a venue.
By building a ring and accommodations for fighters and their camps on his own grounds, he was able to stage events and provide the world with some much-needed entertainment during trying times. Later, as the world learned how to safely hold public events, Hearn showcased “AJ” against Kubrat Pulev as the main event on a card held at Wembley Arena. While there were considerably less fans in attendance than there would’ve been under normal circumstances, bringing fans back into an arena for a heavyweight championship fight was a tremendous step forward for the sport.
To top it off, Hearn was able to step in and negotiate terms to bring Canelo Alvarez, one of the biggest names in the sport, back into the ring after a year-long layoff. Alvarez’s fight against Matchroom’s Callum Smith was held in San Antonio in front of a socially distanced crowd. It was not only a success for the organization but a big win for the sport of boxing. All things considered, Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Sport are walking away from this exam with an A+.
Top Rank Boxing
Notable fighters- Tyson Fury, Terence Crawford, Teofimo Lopez, Vasyl Lomachenko
Any outfit that can lay claim to the lineal heavyweight champion in addition to the man considered by many to be the best pound for pound boxer in the world is certainly top notch. In February of 2020, The Gypsy King brought the WBC heavyweight belt into Bob Arum’s camp with a win over Deontay Wilder.
Fury is considered the lineal heavyweight champion since he is not only undefeated but was also the champion before personal issues forced him to vacate the titles he’d won by defeating Wladimir Klitschko in 2015. The entire sports world is anticipating a match between Fury and Anthony Joshua this calendar year and Bob Arum is the kind of shrewd businessman who will help make the event lucrative for all parties involved.
The best fight of 2020 was the showdown for the undisputed lightweight championship of the world between Vasyl Lomachenko and Teomifimo Lopez. The fact that both men are signed to Top Rank is yet another feather in the organization’s cap. Teofimo was able to solidify his status as a new superstar in the sport in 2020, while “Loma’s” performance included flashes of brilliance showing why he has become a legend. Lomachenko may have lost his belts in the match, but no one who watched the fight could walk away with any less respect for him.
Terence Crawford put on a masterful performance in November, beating Kell Brook with a 4th round TKO. Although only fighting once in 2020, it’s clear he’s still in his prime and his skills have not diminished. There’s a good reason why several ranking systems have him rated as the best pound for pund fighter in the world.
With a stable of fighters this impressive and the biggest fight in the recent history of the sport pending, this organization is a force to be reckoned with. All things considered, Bob Arum and Top Rank Boxing are walking away from this exam with an A+.
Premier Boxing Champions
Notable Fighters- Errol Spence Jr., Manny Pacquiao, Gervonta Davis, Jermall Charlo, Jermell Charlo, Deontay Wilder
Errol Spence Jr. wants to be the biggest draw in the sport of boxing. How else can you explain his ill-advised statement that he and Canelo Alvarez should meet at 160 lbs. and fight? Canelo has proven that he can comfortably fight at 168 lbs. and he has been equally as dominant at 160 lbs. The fact is that while they are similar in stature, Alvarez is a naturally more muscular and heavier man than Spence. Hypothetically, if they meet at 160 lbs.
Alvarez will be working to trim down while Spence will be working to bulk up. Alvarez will be light and fast at 160 while Spence will be slower than he’s accustomed to. The fight takes place the day after the weigh-in, which means that Alvarez could outweigh Spence by as much as 10 lbs. when they actually climb into the ring. Spence should stick to 147 lbs. where he’s proven to be elite.
All things considered, if the only knock against a fighter is that he’s a bit too ambitious that speaks well of his track record. Errol Spence is undefeated and his virtuoso performance against Danny Garcia in December solidified his stature as one of the premier performers in the sport. The world wants to see him against Top Rank’s Bud Crawford for the claim of best pound for pound boxer in the world. Hopefully that fight takes place in 2021’s calendar year.
Other notable fighters on PBC’s roster include living legend Manny Pacquiao, sensational knockout artist Gervonta “Tank” Davis, and world champion twin brothers Jermall and Jermell Charlo. There are rumors swirling around each of these fighters as potential blockbuster deals are signed for their upcoming fights in 2021.
The biggest question mark on the roster is The Bronze Bomber. Former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder is still reeling from the one-sided loss he suffered at the hands of Tyson Fury last February. It’s been almost a year since his last fight and fans are still waiting to see who his next opponent will be. Although suffering the first loss of his career bruised his ego, Deontay is still relevant in the heavyweight division due to his tremendous punching power. A couple of impressive performances could see his name back in the mix for another shot at the heavyweight crown.
Al Haymon is a notoriously private man who rarely grants interviews. However, he’s created a great platform for some of the best fighters in the world to showcase their skills. All things considered, Haymon and Premier Boxing Champions are walking away from this exam with an A+.
So which organization is the best?
If this is a multiple-choice exam then the answer is D, All of the above.
Boxing fans should be ecstatic at the current state of the sport. The fact that so many fighters who deserved to be mentioned were omitted from this article only speaks to the abundance of talent the sport currently holds. Matchroom Sports, Top Rank Boxing and PBC are just three organizations responsible for the rebirth of the sport’s popularity. The sweet science has always held a special place in pop culture and in the public’s imagination. By the looks of things, it will continue to have an impact on society for many years to come.